November 16, 2010 | bfeldman | Professional Development

Adventures in Registration: One Intern’s Journey

Ok, so this is my first entry documenting my personal journey to becoming a registered architect.

I write this roughly 24 hours after taking my first A.R.E.  (Architect Registration Exam).  On the one hand the experience was much like I expected (it took place at a relatively nondescript testing center with very dull carpeting and stale-tasting coffee) and yet on the other hand the experience was very different than what I expected in that the test was VERY VERY DIFFICULT.

In all fairness, I had been amply warned of its difficulty!  Many of my colleagues are simultaneously going through the same licensing experience, and even more of my colleagues are already registered…I had been told many many times to expect the test to be hard.  But I gotta say, after months of studying, probably a dozen at-home practice tests (no joke), a couple hundred flashcards, and late nights spent with AIA contract documents, I was still sorta stunned by this test’s difficulty!  Some of the questions came right out of the sky; most of the questions left me walking out the testing center scratching my head.

The bottom line of this experience is this:  as architects we are demanded to be ambidextrous.  Will my knowledge of mid-century modernism guarantee that a building won’t fall down?  No.  But it will ensure that architects stay as sharp and quick with the creative side of architecture as they are with the technical…and this is really the point anyways, right?  I didn’t go to architecture school because I’m interested in technical legalities…I went through 8 years of grueling design school because I love the idea of shaping beautiful space.  And if the A.R.E. is going to insist I prove my knowledge of important historic and cultural aspects in this field before they hand me a license, well, that’s the reason I went to school in the first place, isn’t it?

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